If you want to get a new asphalt driveway installed in front of your home, you are probably going with this material due to its low cost. Let’s face it – blacktop isn’t the most unique material in the world, and it doesn’t look as great as other options like concrete pavers. It is strong and durable, however, and it is very cheap because it is so common.
General Asphalt Paving Pricing Estimation
So how much will you pay for your new driveway? The asphalt driveway cost will depend on a number of factors, many of which will be detailed and described below. Note, in general, that the main paving costs will derive from two main sources: the materials and equipment needed to lay the new driveway, and the contractors and laborers needed to actually do the work. It is these two main factors that will ultimately determine the asphalt driveway cost per square foot.
In general, the price for your new driveway will be between $1 to $5 per square foot. If you get any special type of asphalt, such as stamped or colored, expect to pay more. For isntance, the stamped asphalt driveway cost can be nearly double the unstamped variety. This may or may not include any excavation that needs to be done or any other special preparatory work that has to be done. Prices will be lower per square foot if you have a larger driveway – the more work done, the less you will pay per unit area, as it will be more efficient for the blacktop contractor to come in and do a larger project than a smaller one. (The fixed costs are much the same regardless of the size of the project, and these fixed costs will be diluted more if they are associated with a larger project.)
However, as stated above, these costs will depend on more specific factors. Let’s take a look at some of the important ones.
Factors that Will Affect Paving Costs
The main factors that will affect the blacktop driveway cost estimate include:
*Oil and other commodity costs. Blacktop is an oil product, so as oil prices increase, you’ll pay more for blacktop. That’s just the reality of the chemistry and economics and is largely unavoidable. And with the continually increasing cost of oil, don’t expect this to decrease any time soon!
*The thickness of the asphalt. Some climates may require thicker asphalt in order to protect against frost and other damage. Obviously, this would cost more money.
*The depth of the base. 4 inches of gravel is usually the standby, but more or less may be needed depending on the environment.
*Your location. If you live in a richer area, you’ll have to pay more for the work. But you probably already know that you’re paying more for products and services, so this is most likely expected.
*The contractor you hire. Expect to pay for quality, and be ready to suffer the consequences if you look for and receive a ridiculous bargain. Anyone doing work for bargain basement prices will give you a bargain basement driveway, so buyer beware. However, there is some leeway in the price here, especially if you can team up with your neighbors to get driveways done at the same time. You could get a nice discount this way.
*The square footage of your driveway. This is obvious, but remember that a large project may enjoy lower prices per square foot due to increased efficiency of laying the blacktop.
*The season. If you get your driveway done during the busy season (spring to early summer), expect to pay more due to increased demand.
*The specifics of your job. If you want curves, or if your driveway is sloped, or a myriad of other design features, you may have to pay more for the privilege.
*If any problems or issues pop up during the installation, expect to pay. For instance, if the contractor has to deal with utility lines at all and needs to hire a subcontractor, you’ll be footing that bill. A general rule: The smoother the job, the less you’ll have to pay, so try to be open about any potential issues before the work begins.
*If you want special kinds of asphalt, such as stamped or colored, you’ll pay more.
*If you combine asphalt with other driveway materials, you’ll obviously have to pay for the installation of those materials too. For instance, many people get concrete pavers or natural stone pavers (cobblestones) as an apron and border for an otherwise asphalt driveway. This will cost you more than a plain blacktop drive.
Getting an Estimate From a Contractor
Ultimately, it’s hard to give an exact price given that costs depend so much on local factors. For an exact measurement of your cost, you’ll need to get an estimate done by a local contractor. You can also use an asphalt driveway cost calculator to help give you a more focused estimate, though it won’t always be entirely accurate. Always get more than one bid or quote, as you’ll want to see what different contractors will offer you for the job. Don’t necessarily take the lowest price – balance out the quality of the work with the price you’re willing to pay. Substandard work will always come back to bite you.
Repair, Maintenance, and Other Costs
Note that your expenditure won’t end when the asphalt is newly installed in your front yard. You will also have to pay repair and maintenance costs down the line if you want your driveway to last long. Consider it part of the fixed cost of the driveway – the consequences of not maintaining your driveway could be getting a whole new one, a very expensive endeavor. Periodic sealing, sealcoating, and resurfacing will help keep your driveway looking great. Expect to pay anywhere from 10 to 20 cents per square foot for these services if you don’t do it yourself.